Nobilis questions: But WHY?

Pyske

Still Here... On Occasion
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(I tried posting this in the Windflowers column, but Phorum isn't cooperating, so I brought it over here instead.)

As a caveat, I don't have the first edition, so if this is explained somewhere, it's possible I just haven't heard about it.

Why forbid love? I understand the story implications, but it seems... impractical. How does Entropy justify this rule, or (if he's above needing to justify himself) how do those who choose to obey?

Nobilis are half human, and humans put a lot of stock in the ideal of love; it is, in ideal form, one of our most cherished objectives. Further, love is powerful in the game, in allowing bonds to an anchor, so even those of less ideaistic bent might see it as useful -- particularly if love includes the sort of love one feels for a dog or favorite underling.

Similarly, why protect the Excrucians? I understand that to some degree Imperators should be inscrutable, but even given his domains, I'm not clear on where these laws came from, or why they were accepted (or at least, justified, since no-one wants to admit accepting laws through simple fear).

Another, slightly tangential question: how do the personalities of an individual Nobilis or Imperator affect their domains? For example, does Ananda's dominion over Murder lead to the ideas of "mercy killings" and other crimes of conscience?

I suspect that negotiation over the course of the game redefines and explores the philosophical concepts of the PC's domains. Does this change the mythical nature and boundaries of this domain? If so, what effect does this have on the world? Similarly, if the excrucian in the example of play on the Nobilis website had been successful, how would this have changed the world?

Ack. Too many questions. Can you tell I'm eagerly awaiting the release of the book?

. . . . . . . -- Eric
 

Mytholder

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Pyske said:
Why forbid love? I understand the story implications, but it seems... impractical. How does Entropy justify this rule, or (if he's above needing to justify himself) how do those who choose to obey?
I'm possibly misremembering, but I think it's forbidden because the duties and responsibilities are so great, they cannot be allowed anything which might weaken them, or cause them to stray from the path. If the Power of Sunlight doesn't bother making the sun shine because he's off with his girlfriend, then that's bad...

Nobilis are half human, and humans put a lot of stock in the ideal of love; it is, in ideal form, one of our most cherished objectives. Further, love is powerful in the game, in allowing bonds to an anchor, so even those of less ideaistic bent might see it as useful -- particularly if love includes the sort of love one feels for a dog or favorite underling.
The latter is loyalty and fairness, neither of which are prohibited. Love is "useful" because it allows Anchoring, yes, but so does Hate, and Hate is (in Entropy's eyes) less likely to lead to a dereliction of duty.

It's also possibly that, in the world of Nobilis anyway, Love is Eternal, and that is something that Entropy cannot tolerate.


Similarly, why protect the Excrucians? I understand that to some degree Imperators should be inscrutable, but even given his domains, I'm not clear on where these laws came from, or why they were accepted (or at least, justified, since no-one wants to admit accepting laws through simple fear).
Apparently, by holding the Nobilis to a higher moral code than their adversaries, Entropy creates some sort of detectable spiritual difference, which allows him to notice and trace Excrucian activity.

Another, slightly tangential question: how do the personalities of an individual Nobilis or Imperator affect their domains? For example, does Ananda's dominion over Murder lead to the ideas of "mercy killings" and other crimes of conscience?
Depends on the Noble, and how involved they are in their estate. Two different Nobles can have different "takes" on their estate - for example, the first Lord of Words Taken Back might be concerned with apologies, reconciliations, and diplomany, while his heir might rule over lies, false confessions, and the breaking of alliances.

Ananda's an Imperator. His personality probably doesn't shape murder - he IS murder, murder is because he is. If he makes a mortal into the Noble of Murder, then that mortal's personality might affect the nature of Murder. (If the mortal ignores their estate, though, and just lets it "run itself", then murder might not be affected by the change in management).


I suspect that negotiation over the course of the game redefines and explores the philosophical concepts of the PC's domains. Does this change the mythical nature and boundaries of this domain?
If so, what effect does this have on the world? Similarly, if the excrucian in the example of play on the Nobilis website had been successful, how would this have changed the world?



Some Excruciations merely weaken the estate, in which case Treachery (to take the example of play) would be less important in the world. Fewer people would betray others, giving your word would mean more, people would read something other than Julius Caesar. If Treachery were fully Excruciated, if it was totally destroyed...then it NEVER existed. The world would have changed utterly. The concept of treachery would be literally unthinkable.

I hope that's of some help...
 
N

NPC Cornelius

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The whole spiritual difference explanation always sounded very phony to me for some reason. As I recall, it doesn't come from a very trustworthy source either.
Anyhow. I doubt it's the whole story, but one reason for the law might be that Lord Entropy is very, very corrupt. Create a law that nobody will follow, then watch the bribes/penalties pour in. Or use it as an excuse to crush people you don't like. It's a sweet setup.
 

Brand_Robins

Retired User
Pyske said:
(Why forbid love? I understand the story implications, but it seems... impractical. How does Entropy justify this rule, or (if he's above needing to justify himself) how do those who choose to obey?
Entropy most likely did it because he knew it was a rule that would not be followed. Making such a rule allows him to punish those who violate it, or to let people off as a favor which must be returned. Or it could be that it's part of the whole prophecy about him being the one on whom the fate of the world hinges.

As for why anyone listens to Entropy -- well, he is an Imperator and is the current ruler of Earth. You kinda have to listen to him. Even more importantly, it has been revealed by those who know that Entropy's rule is essential to the survival of Earth. His being in charge is the only hope the Earth has to survive. Thus if he makes a rule not to love, he can claim (and it may be true) that the love of the Nobilis could destroy the world.

Similarly, why protect the Excrucians?
This one is a matter of preserving the world and preserving Entropy's power over it. He doesn't want the world that he's doing such a fine job of corrupting being up and destroyed as over eager nobles who can destroy continents get all hyper gung-ho about crushing every little Excrucian shard there is.

As most Nobles will haul out the big guns if they have to, what these laws really do is force the Nobilis to stay subtle and work in ways that reinforce the natural order rather than destroy it.

Of course Entropy may also have some kind of "Geneva convention" rules set up with the Excrucians, and breaking them could result in Earth being the next prime target of the hordes.

Another, slightly tangential question: how do the personalities of an individual Nobilis or Imperator affect their domains?
It can and does, but usually in subtle ways. The Noble of Plague, for example, can't make plague less horrifying or less common -- but might well be able to make it be seen as a disease rather than a punishment from God. The Noble of War could push for total war with no morals, for technological "nintendo" war, or for a warrior code of conduct, and so forth. Murder will always be murder, but Ananda's control over it could increase mercy killings and decrease rage murders. That, of course, is if he was more active in the world. As he hangs back he probably influences his estate fairly little. (For now Murder is bound to Entropy's will. In time that could change.)

Similarly, if the excrucian in the example of play on the Nobilis website had been successful, how would this have changed the world?
It would either have weakened betrayal or erased it from existence, depending on how successful the Excrucian was. If it was weaker there would be less treachery in the world. If it was destroyed then treachery simply wouldn't exist. The capacity to stab in the back and such like wouldn't be conceivable, much less available. So no Judas, no Brutus, and no Schindler.
 

Martin de guerre

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Nobilis is the only game I've ever preordered and I asked myself
why? WHY did I order THIS? Needless to say, I only buy games now that I can check out first. I agree with Steve D, "try before you buy."
 

Law Orc

beheld Sumbitch as he fell from heaven like lightn
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Re: Re: Nobilis questions: But WHY?

Brand_Robins said:


It would either have weakened betrayal or erased it from existence, depending on how successful the Excrucian was. If it was weaker there would be less treachery in the world. If it was destroyed then treachery simply wouldn't exist. The capacity to stab in the back and such like wouldn't be conceivable, much less available. So no Judas, no Brutus, and no Schindler.
Not only would it no longer exist, if I recall correctly it would be made so it never existed in the first place.

So if it's gone, not only would people not understand Julius Caesar, it never would have been written in the first place. And the very idea of deciding to not working in the best interest of one's leader would be on a level with the idea of deciding to turn the sun purple.
 

Brand_Robins

Retired User
Re: Re: Re: Nobilis questions: But WHY?

Random Nerd said:
Not only would it no longer exist, if I recall correctly it would be made so it never existed in the first place.
Yup. It isn't that we'd forget about Judas and Brutas and Schindler -- its that they'd never have been.

Which is all bad. History goes off into wonky world.
 

Mike Zebrowski

Beer Elemental
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Pyske said:
Why forbid love? I understand the story implications, but it seems... impractical. How does Entropy justify this rule, or (if he's above needing to justify himself) how do those who choose to obey?
As others have mentioned, you need to either love or hate a person to make them an Anchor. An Anchor is a person that shares a connection to the Power and the Power can work his mojo through the Anchor.

There are 2 major drawbacks to being an Anchor.

1) Anchors tend to be trouble magnets.

2) Anchors can be sacrificed to prevent enemies from using him to track back to the Power.

So, if you were a Power, would you really want your girlfriend as an Anchor knowing that she will attact trouble and that one day you'll likely have to scarifice her?

Mike Z
 

JustJo

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I always thought it was one of those Norse things (like the world tree and the dread biter/nidhogg.) In the Ring, Alberich forswears love to gain power.

So maybe Lord Entropy also forswore love to gain power. And because he can't have it, he forbids it to anyone else too. Petty? Sure.




jo
 
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